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What Happens In An Asthma Attack

What Are The Symptoms Of An Asthma Attack

Asthma – What Happens During an Asthma Attack?

The most common symptoms include:

Mild to Severe

  • Disrupted sleep due to asthma symptoms & breathing difficulty
  • Daytime symptoms 4 or more times per week
  • Inability to exercise normally without breathing issues
  • Getting a cold/flu

If you experience any of the above symptoms, book an urgent appointment with your healthcare provider. An asthma attack could be on its way. The timely help can prevent dangerous consequences.


  • Excessive cough, wheeze and chest tightness
  • Difficulty speaking due to asthma
  • Experiencing shortness of breath at rest
  • Lips or nail beds turning blue
  • Reliever medication isnt helping
  • Sweating

After An Asthma Attack: Changing Your Asthma Management Or Asthma Attack Treatment

After an asthma attack evaluation, your doctor may want to step up treatment, step down treatment, change treatment, or increase your doctor visits, said Bernstein.

Some signs that your treatment plan may need to change include:

  • Frequent asthma attacks
  • Needing to take more asthma medication than prescribed
  • Waking up at night with asthma symptoms
  • Daytime activity limited by asthma
  • Continued , congestion, and mucous production
  • Poor peak flow rates

Knowing what to do after an asthma attack is part of learning how to manage your asthma. Each asthma attack is a chance to learn more about your asthma triggers and your asthma medications. Sharing this information with your doctor gives you and your doctor the opportunity to make the right adjustments to your asthma action plan â and that could mean fewer asthma attacks in your future.

Three Major Steps In An Asthma Attack

There are three major steps in an asthma attack. First, you have constriction. Bronchoconstriction is the medical term for the narrowing of the airways that occurs in an asthma attack. The bronchioles, or tubes that allow air to flow in and out of the lungs, are surrounded by a type of muscle called smooth muscle. The second is inflammation and the third is mucus production.

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You Can Control Your Asthma

You can control your asthma! When you control your asthma, you will breathe easier, be as active as you would like, sleep well, stay out of the hospital, and be free from coughing and wheezing. Learn about controlling your asthma at CDCs asthma site.

Asthma is one of the most common lifelong chronic diseases. One in 13 Americans lives with asthma, a disease affecting the lungs and causing repeated episodes of wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness, and coughing.

Although asthma cannot be cured, you can control your asthma successfully to reduce and to prevent asthma attacks, also called episodes. Successful asthma management includes knowing the warning signs of an attack, avoiding things that may trigger an attack, and working with your doctor to develop your personal Asthma Action Plan. CDCs National Asthma Control Program has worked to help millions of people with asthma in the United States gain control over their disease since 1999. CCARE, Controlling Childhood Asthma and Reducing Emergencies, is the programs new objective of preventing 500,000 Emergency Department visits and hospitalizations due to asthma by August 31, 2024.

Asthma deaths have decreased over time and varied by demographic characteristics. The rate of asthma deaths decreased from 15 per million in 2001 to 10 per million in 2018. Deaths due to asthma are rare and are thought to be largely preventable, particularly among children and young adults.

Asthma deaths have decreased over time.

Chronic Sinusitis And Allergies What Kind Of Doctor Do You See For Allergy Testing

Asthma attack

Board-certified Allergists are highly trained physicians who specialize in the diagnoses and nonsurgical treatment of chronic sinus issues and allergies. They also specialize in the management of asthma since most asthmatics have allergic triggers that affect their breathing. Allergists focus on the underlying cause of the symptoms to lessen the need for medications and surgery. In doing so, Allergists are like medical detectives who take a comprehensive and integrated approach to treatment. Through the appropriate use of allergy testing, Allergists can help patients to understand their triggers and teach patients the environmental strategies needed to avoid their triggers. Allergists use allergy test results to decide which medications would be the most effective. Allergists can also guide patients through allergen immunotherapy to help relieve persistent nasal and sinus symptoms when medications are not helpful or when patients wish to minimize the need for medications.

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Move Away From The Trigger

If your asthma attacks are triggered by allergies, remove yourself as quickly as possible from the allergen, whether its a dusty room, smoke-filled bar or fluffy cat. Once youre in a cleaner environment, calmly sit down and breathe deeply in through your nose and out through your mouth.

Of course, the best way to combat an asthma attack is always to have a spare rescue inhaler in a place where you have quick access to it, just in case your main inhaler is lost. But these five simple solutions may just do the trick in getting you through a difficult situation. Finally, if your symptoms do not subside quickly or are severe for you, seek emergency help IMMEDIATELY.

When To See A Medical Professional

See your provider or go to the emergency room if:

  • An asthma attack requires more medicine than recommended
  • Symptoms get worse or do not improve with treatment
  • You have shortness of breath while talking
  • Your peak flow measurement is 50% to 80% of your personal best

Go to the emergency room if these symptoms occur:

  • Drowsiness or confusion

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Biologics Target The Late Phase Asthma Attack

In either case, these biologics target the late phase asthma attack. Their job is to make IL5 unable to recruit eosinophils. The goal here is that eosinophil levels will decrease. And this will improve asthma control.

Basophils. They are another white blood cell with a high affinity for IgE antibodies. In our case, dust mite IgE antibodies bind with basophils. This causes them to release their contents. These contents include histamine and cytokines. Two cytokines secreted are IL4 and IL13. These same cytokines contributed to sensitization and the early phase asthma attack.3,4

Interleukine 4 . They are cytokines that tell cells to make IgE antibodies.

Interleukine 13 . They are cytokines that directly cause airway inflammation.

A biologic called dupilumab binds with IL4 receptors. It renders IL4 and IL13 harmless. It was originally approved by the FDA for atopic dermatitis. But, more recently it has been approved for moderate or severe asthma.

Emergencies And Your Asthma Action Plan

What happens during an asthma attack

You and your doctor need to create an asthma action plan that details what to do when you are in different zones green, yellow, or red:

  • Green zone: You are free of symptoms and can do your usual activities. Peak flow readings are 80% to 100% of your personal best. Youre doing well. If you use daily control medicine, you should take it as usual.
  • Yellow zone: You have symptoms of asthma. Or your peak flow readings are between 50% and 80% of your personal best. Your asthma is worsening. You may need medicine to prevent a more serious asthma attack.
  • Red zone: You have symptoms of an asthma emergency. Peak flow readings are 50% or lower of your personal best. You are having a severe attack and need asthma emergency treatment.

Most important, your written asthma action plan spells out what you should do in an asthma emergency.

Since every persons asthma is different, you need to have a custom-tailored asthma emergency treatment plan.

Your plan might include the following steps:

  • Use your emergency inhaler as prescribed.
  • Take a peak flow reading if you can.
  • Get to an emergency room or call 911.

Dont delay. Waiting too long to get asthma emergency treatment can be deadly.

An asthma action plan should also include:

  • Your name
  • The name and number of your family doctor
  • The name and number of your local hospital
  • Your personal best peak flow meter reading

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People On Your Asthma Healthcare Team May Include:

  • Your doctor you may have a family doctor and a respirologist
  • Your nurse
  • Your pharmacist
  • Your certified asthma educator or certified respiratory educator : Certified asthma educators and certified respiratory educators are respiratory therapists, nurses, pharmacist, or physiotherapists who have special training to teach people about asthma. They are experts at explaining how asthma affects you and what you can do about it. To find a Certified Asthma Educator or Certified Respiratory Educator, ask your local Lung Association or your doctor. Or look for an asthma education clinic near you search our online database of asthma programs and clinics.

What To Do Immediately If I Have An Asthma Attack

This entry was posted on Monday, June 20th, 2016 and is filed under by AENT Associates

While asthma attacks may range in severity from mild to severe, affected breathing can be scary. Fortunately, there are medications you can take to reduce airway inflammation. Even if you dont have these handy, there are several things you can do to get your breathing on track after an asthma attack.

Step 1: Recognizing Your Attack

Not all asthma attacks have classic symptoms. Many of our Houston-area patients have experienced breathing difficulties for some time without realizing that asthma was the cause. The most common symptoms of an asthma attack are:

  • Coughing
  • Severe shortness of breath
  • Wheezing, a high-pitched sound that occurs when your airways get tighter.

You may notice these symptoms come on with exercise, stress, or exposure to a particular allergen, like a dog, smoke, or a certain kind of plant.

According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, asthma attacks can last from minutes to several days. Seeking help and treating the attack can help you breathe better and be prepared if it happens again.

Step 2: Stay Calm

If your symptoms get worse instead of better, seek emergency medical treatment. An emergency center can administer additional medications to stop the inflammation thats affecting your breathing.

Step 3: Remove Yourself from Your Trigger

Step 4: Create a Preventive Plan

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What Should I Do If I Have A Severe Asthma Attack

A severe asthma attack needs immediate medical care. The first step is your rescue inhaler. A rescue inhaler uses fast-acting medicines to open up your airways. Its different than your normal maintenance inhaler, which you use every day. You should only use the rescue inhaler in an emergency.

If your rescue inhaler doesnt help or you dont have it with you, go to the emergency department if you have:

  • Anxiety or panic.
  • Bluish fingernails, bluish lips or gray or whitish lips or gums .
  • Chest pain or pressure.

What Causes An Asthma Attack

Treating an asthma attack

An asthma attack can happen when you are exposed to asthma triggers. Your asthma triggers can be very different from someone elses asthma triggers. Know your triggers and learn how to avoid them. Watch out for an attack when you cant avoid your triggers. Some of the most common triggers are tobacco smoke, dust mites, outdoor air pollution, cockroach allergen, pets, mold, smoke from burning wood or grass, and infections like flu.

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What Causes Asthma Attacks

Having asthma is like having a touchy airway, says Richard Castriotta, MD, director of the Division of Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine at the McGovern Medical School at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston and medical director of the Sleep Disorders Center at the Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center. This airway i.e., the bronchial tubes that usher air in and out of our lungs overreacts to a large number of irritants that don’t bother other people, he explains.

Some doctors also describe an asthma attack as an asthma exacerbation. Thats because the airways may become tightly constricted during an asthma attack. But constriction isnt the only problem these airways also become inflamed and swollen. The exact cause of asthma is not known, but it’s probably a combination of genetic risk and environmental factors.

Asthma attacks often occur in response to “triggers,” or elements in your environment that increase the irritation in your airways. Triggers vary from person to person. You may be able to tell immediately if something causes asthma symptoms, or you might need to be tested for allergies to find out what’s causing your symptoms.

According to the AAAAI, some of the most common asthma triggers are:

  • Smoke
  • Ozone
  • Nitrogen dioxide from gas heaters and stoves
  • Dust mites or cockroaches

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Respiratory System Flashcards Quizle

  • Triggers of asthma attacks during sports activities. An important issue that children should be clear about is what triggers an asthma attack during sports. Parents play an important role here, not only in identifying these causes, but also in ensuring that the child doesn’t lose self-confidence
  • Drugs are increased or decreased over time to achieve optimal control of the child’s asthma symptoms and to prevent severe attacks. If these drugs do not prevent severe attacks, children may need to take corticosteroids by mouth. Children over age 5 and adolescents with asthma can be treated similarly to adults
  • Asthma is a chronic disease, marked by inflammation that narrows the airways of the lungs. These sensitive airways can react strongly to inhaled substances, tightening the surrounding muscles and leading to the wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath known as an asthma attackAsthma symptoms can be mild and eventually go away, but they can also worsen over time
  • When people with asthma are exposed to these triggers, an asthma attack, or exacerbation, can occur. But how exactly do such everyday factors lead to an asthma attack? If an asthmatic is exposed to a trigger, the smooth rings of muscle that circle the small airways in their lungs contract and become narrow
  • Many specialists have suspected that some asthma patients may have silent acid reflux that, for some reason, does not cause heartburn but may play a role in triggering or worsening asthma, but.
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    Overall How Can Someone Best Support Their Loved One With Asthma

    It is very important to take asthma seriously. For most asthma sufferers there are treatments available to completely control their asthma. Nobody should be allowed to make fun of somebody taking medication or voicing concerns over situations that cause symptoms for them. Its important to remind loved ones of regular doctor visits, getting refills for their medications in time, and taking their medications according to directions from the physician.

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    How To Avoid Asthma Triggers

    What happens during an asthma attack

    If you know what your asthma triggers are, then where possible, its beneficial to try to avoid them.

    If theres a particular allergen culprit you know of, then keeping your home clean and dust-free can help. For example, you could consider swapping carpets for wooden floors to reduce the amount of dust build-up or hiring a cleaner so youre not personally exposed to dust when cleaning.

    It can be more difficult to avoid asthma triggers completely when youre at work, especially if your asthma is occupational and linked to your working environment. In an ideal world, you could simply change jobs to something more suitable for your health, but in reality this isnt always feasible.

    Let your employer or the HR department know about your asthma. You should be able to discuss the options available for optimising your work environment to be more suitable to your needs.

    Keeping on top of your asthma management plan, working alongside your doctor or asthma nurse and making sure you take your inhalers or other asthma medications should help to control your symptoms. Making practical lifestyle choices is important too, like eating healthily, exercising and not smoking.

    It can also be beneficial to learn an asthma breathing technique. There are various breathing techniques that can help asthma and knowing how to breathe properly could help if something unexpectedly triggers an attack.

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    What Happens In A& e

    Registration at A& E for an asthma emergency

    Once you get to A& E you need to register first. If you arrive by ambulance, the crew will register for you. Youll need to give personal details like your name and address, and tell the reception team what your symptoms are and why you’re visiting A& E.

    Many but not all hospitals now have a separate childrens A& E department where your child will be assessed by healthcare professionals who are trained to diagnose and treat children. The series of steps you go through is the same as in a general A& E, but the waiting room and cubicles will be more child friendly.

    Once youre registered youll need to wait for a first or pre-assessment.

    Pre-assessment by a nurse or doctor

    A nurse or a doctor will assess you or your childs condition to see how urgently you need treatment. This is known as triage. Anyone going to A& E is assessed in this way to see how urgently they need to be seen. It makes sure that the people who are most in need are seen first, so you may have to wait.

    Most A& Es aim to triage you within 15 minutes of registration but if you or your child feel worse in that time, tell any member of staff in the department and they will direct you to the right person.

    People whose condition is not serious may be referred to a GP on site.

    Asthma treatments in A& E

    The treatment youre given will depend on your assessment. It may include being given medicine through a nebuliser, or steroids in the form of liquid or tablets.


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